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Active at any size
Very large people can face special challenges in trying to be physically active. You may not be able to bend or move in the same way that other people can. It may be hard to find clothes and equipment for exercising. You may feel self-conscious being active around other people. Facing these challenges is hard, but it can be done!
Activities such as swimming or exercising while seated put less stress on your joints because your legs are not supporting the weight of your body. If your feet or joints hurt when you stand, these non-weight-bearing activities may be best for you. Ask your doctor for help in coming up with a physical activity plan that's right for you.
Remember that physical activity does not have to be hard or boring to be good for you. Anything that gets you moving around — even for only a few minutes a day — is a healthy start to getting more fit. If you commit to being physically active on a regular basis, your body will thank you because it can make a big difference to your health.
Even if you are not physically active enough to lose weight, you will still lower your risk of getting many diseases by being active. And if you do lose weight, you'll get even more health benefits!
If you want to lose a substantial (more than 5 percent of body weight) amount of weight, you need a high amount of physical activity unless you also lower calorie intake. This is also the case if you are trying to keep the weight off. Many people need to do more than 300 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week to meet weight-control goals.
Explore other publications and websites
2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans — This publication is the government’s official guide for Americans to use to get healthy. It discusses the recommended amount of physical activity that adults and children should do weekly and how this will benefit their health.
Active at Any Size — This booklet offers information on activities and strategies for weight loss and staying active regardless of size.
Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Across Your Lifespan: Better Health and You: Tips for Adults — This booklet gives information on weight gain and obesity in adults. It also includes information on eating healthy, getting active, and losing weight.
My Bright Future: Physical Activity and Healthy Eating for Adult Women — This booklet will help you learn more about the importance of physical activity and healthy eating in your daily life. It will also help you talk with your doctor about these topics and set health-related goals. Included are personalized tip sheets that can help you meet your nutritional goals.
Physical Activity and Weight Control — This publication explains the connection between regular exercise and good health. It also includes tips to start a safe and successful physical activity program.
Connect with other organizations
Weight-Control Information Network
Women's Heart Foundation
Content last updated June 17, 2008.
Resources last updated June 17, 2008.
A federal government website managed by the Office on Women's Health in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
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